Thomas and Harold Bond


Vineyard Corner, West Hoathly. Early type of Bond card, supposedly produced by P. P. & P. Co. of Croydon

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Father and son grocers, West Hoathly. From 1910 onwards, Thomas Bond sold at least 24 different sepia-tinted real photographic cards of West Hoathly. All the cards are labelled "Bond's Photo Series". The captions, which were originally handwritten, identify the cards as the work of the Photo Printing & Publishing Co. ("P. P. & P. Co."), a subsidiary of Bender & Co. of Croydon. Over 40 retailers and wholesalers in Sussex sold cards that were manufactured by Bender & Co., but nearly all were mere proxy publishers and therefore ineligible for a place on this website. There is a possibility that Bond was one of the rare exceptions (others include Fish and Partridge of Eastbourne). His "Bond's Photo Series" cards often depict unfamiliar corners of West Hoathly, which could suggest that the photographer was a local person, who knew the village well. It seems likely that Thomas Bond supplied Bender & Co. with the photographs, or showed the Bender photographer round the village, explaining what he wanted recorded.

In 1916 the Photo Printing & Publishing Co. changed hands, and retailers such as Thomas Bond may have been unable to obtain reprints of the original cards. Bond responded by issuing replacement cards with machine printed captions in capitals (see Gallery). The cards as before were sepia-tinted, borderless and marked "Bond's Photo Series". Their 4-digit serial numbers suggests that a large-scale manufacturer rather than Bond produced them. Later, perhaps with the aid of a local photographer, Bond issued a new set of cards, marked "Bond Series". These were black and white real photographics with white borders, in contrast to their sepia-tinted and borderless predecessors. As far as can be determined, none of the original photographs was re-used.

The Bond Series black and white cards are hard to find today, and must originally have sold in small numbers. No postmarks have been reported.

Thomas Bond was born in about 1859 at West Hoathly. He and his wife, Jane, who came from Melchbourne in Bedfordshire, married in about 1882. Thomas and Jane appear to have had only one child, Harold J. Bond, in about 1887. After leaving school, Harold seems to have worked in the shop, helping his father and mother. The Autumn 1921 Electoral Register records that he lived at Lower Pendant in West Hoathly with his wife Gladys Merle Bond.

Thomas Bond retired sometime between 1927 and 1930, handing over to his son. Kelly's 1938 Sussex Directory records that the family shop was trading under the title "Harold J. Bond and Son", so evidently a grandchild was in the process of taking over the family business. The creator of the Bond Series of cards may have been Harold, as the backs are of a design that was much favoured by Sussex postcard publishers in the early 1930s.

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